If we were to count up how many times in our life we have heard the Nativity Story, it would probably amaze us! It's a wonderful story, but so many times, as it is with other familiar stories, we tend to lose our awe of it and the amazement of God's love.
Following is an interactive Christmas Bible lesson for really any age group that hopefully will bring us back to a place of amazement as if hearing it for the very first time!
This may be used for a Sunday school or church group or maybe even as a Christmas tradition for your family. It's easy to adapt for any age by adjusting the conversation to the age level of your audience. For children there are also Nativity Story ideas that can be added to capture their attention, as well as their little hands! There are many other Christmas activities available too.
Items needed: Traditional Nativity Set, Scriptures written on paper/cardstock cut like puzzle pieces - John 1:1-5, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 2:29, John 1:14-17
Place the Nativity pieces and Scriptures randomly in front of the the group. Begin the lesson by picking up the puzzle piece with John 1:1-5 and the baby Jesus figure.
Explain that although most of us have heard the Christmas story of Jesus numerous times in our lives, we may not realize where the pieces come from and how they fit together.
God used over 40 different men to write the 66 books of the Bible. Even when it came to recording the Nativity story, He chose to use three different men. Three of the four Gospels share various parts of the story. All three point to the fact that it's just the beginning chapter of the greatest story ever to be told!
For each piece of the story take time for the group to think of what it must have been like for each character, to think of how their life can identify, and to give thanks to God for His story.
The story begins...
The Plan: Point out that the Nativity story did not begin at the birth or even the announcement, it began with The Plan - John 1:1-5; it began with Jesus!
Place the baby Jesus at the center for the Nativity scene.
The Announcement: Have someone else read Matthew 1:18-25 and have them add Mary & Joseph to the Nativity scene.
The Birth: Next have someone read Luke 2:1-20 adding the shepherds and the angel(s).
The Visit: Have Matthew 2:1-12 read adding the wisemen. Make note that the wisemen actually came later when Jesus was probably a toddler - they entered a house and He is called a child. This event most likely falls between the events of Luke 2:28 and Luke 2:29.
The Love: Read Luke 2:29 & John 1:14-17 bringing the story full circle back to Jesus.
After all pieces are in place from three of the four Gospels, have participants think about each character and to whom they most identify in their lives. This can lead to a great discussion such as the shepherds being such common people and considered as outcasts to Mary and Joseph facing the unknown to the Wise Men on a journey.
Have each jot down names of:
1st) Others from the story of the complete life of Christ that were touched by His love. Give them a few moments and then open discussion for anyone to share a name and how their life was touched.
2nd) Others they know now living whose lives have been touched and allow for sharing and discussion.
3rd) Finally others that they know of who need the touch of God's love in their lives. Don't share these out loud, but allow time for prayer for each and how God can use them to share His love into their lives.